|This article is a work-in-progress |
Ambitions are massive stories spanning the entirety of the game. Each will start easy but grow harder as it goes on, until it becomes nigh impossible for all but the most prepared players.
This Guide is meant to be a spoiler-free introduction to the concept of Ambitions and give a quick overview of the premise of each. Note that links from this guide to other articles are not likely to be free from spoilers.
For more in-depth (and spoiler-y) walkthroughs, see each Ambition's own guide, linked in its relevant section below and on the Guides page.
Ambitions are the reason your character is in Fallen London. Each Ambition provides a reason why your character descended to the city. There are four Ambitions. Before choosing one, consider carefully which you want as, once chosen, you currently can't change it without paying Fate (except at one point during Light Fingers).
Every Ambition makes use of all four Main Attributes, but each Ambition focuses on two attributes in particular, in both mechanics and narrative.
|Light Fingers!||Heart's Desire!||Nemesis!||Bag a Legend!|
Which Ambition should I choose?
The short answer is, whichever you want. But we know—choosing an Ambition can be daunting. It's a significant part of your experience of the game, and (with one exception, or with Fate) cannot be changed once you've committed to your choice. Therefore, this guide aims to help you choose your Ambition based on some of the most common considerations: the story each Ambition tells, its implications for roleplaying and character development, the mechanical rewards available in the form of unique Ambition items, and how it is made continually relevant through callbacks in other game content. Each Ambition-specific section of this guide will give you a spoiler-free glimpse of what each Ambition offers in these four areas.
Each Ambition is a story designed to be played over the course of many months. It's likely to be the longest story you play through with your character, and as such, you'll likely want to pick an Ambition whose premise appeals to you. That said, all four Ambitions are great stories, and you are unlikely to be disappointed whichever you choose. In each one, your character will be confronted with difficult choices, learn surprising things about the Neath, and eventually come face-to-face with one or more of the Masters of the Bazaar, who may help or hinder their pursuit of the Ambition.
Ostensibly, your character's Ambition is what brought them to the Neath in the first place. If you already know a lot about your character, one Ambition or another may be a better fit for them, depending on their affiliations, beliefs, and interests. Alternatively, you might choose an Ambition without having a firm idea of who your character is, and let the story influence who they become. You can choose an Ambition that complements your character's Profession... or perhaps their Profession is just a job, and their Ambition is their true passion. Whatever Ambition you choose, there are endless ways to incorporate it into the story you're telling with your character.
The item rewards of each Ambition are fairly balanced—everyone who plays through any of these stories will be compensated significantly for their time and effort. The primary reward is a unique Treasure item with substantial stats, which varies among Ambitions and according to key choices you make in the story. There are also less powerful unique items available during the course of each Ambition. Mechanical rewards that are equippable, or have other uses outside the Ambition, will be provided in tables below—without the item names or descriptions, which are often major spoilers.
Ambitions have also been incorporated into other areas of the game, with flavour text and additional options available in certain stories to characters who are pursuing or have completed a certain Ambition. These tie-ins have continued to appear in newly added stories and seasonal events, so it's a good bet that, whatever your Ambition, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find it popping up in future content.
Main article: Ambition: Bag a Legend (Guide)
On long evenings at the Medusa's Head, where the monster-hunters drink, they brag about the beasts they've bagged […] But no-one tells stories about […] the Vake, for whose head the Department offers a standing reward of four million Echoes[…]
Story: Ambition: Bag a Legend! is about hunting a mysterious monster terrorising London, and the story is primarily about discovering what this monster is and figuring out how to kill it. It also delves into lore about previous fallen cities, and draws in characters as varied as Sinning Jenny, some very unconventional nuns, and a Revolutionary with a penchant for building weapons. It has elements of monster horror and Gothic horror, evoking stories like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Roleplaying: Bag a Legend might be especially suitable for characters in the Rat-Catcher branch of Professions, which culminates in the Advanced Profession of Monster-Hunter. Characters particularly inclined to pursue the Vake might spend a lot of time in Watchmaker's Hill or Wolfstack Docks, and be associated with The Docks or Revolutionaries or a member of Sophia's—though no one in London is safe from this monster. Dangerous and Watchful characters have an advantage in this hunt.
Mechanical rewards: Rewards of Ambition, and some of the unique items available, vary according to your story choices.
|Item||Stage when acquired||Item slot||Item effects|
|A great debt owed to you||Ending (choice)||Treasure|
|A disturbing remnant of the Third City||Ending (choice)||Treasure|
|A network of informants and clandestine operators||Ending (choice)||Treasure|
|A (mostly) obedient flying beast||Ending (choice)||Treasure|
|A hat that muffles sound||4||Hat|
|Teeth with a mind of their own||160 (optional)||Hat|
|A pony upgrade||150 (optional, with prerequisite)||Transport|
|A screaming plant||5||Companion|
|A replica knife||2000 (optional)||Weapon|
|A very specialised blunt instrument||22||Weapon|
|A holy weapon||31 (optional)||Weapon|
- The character's involvement in the Vake hunt is referenced or alluded to in the text of other storylines, particularly those involving any Masters the character interacted with during the Ambition.
- It comes up in the Exceptional Story Paisley.
- This Ambition is the only way to get Laboratory services from April, who can also join the Railway Board.
- As part of your Rewards of Ambition every 4 weeks, you receive +5 CP of Bragging Rights at the Medusa's Head, good for some Making Waves and either Wounds reduction or Favours: Revolutionaries.
- Additional options during F.F. Gebrandt's Prelapsarian Exhibition.
- A unique tattoo during The Feast of the Rose.
- An option for increasing Noman Knows at Christmas.
- Lock-out of a certain option during Mr Chimes' Grand Clearing-Out.
“He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” —Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
Main article: Ambition: Heart's Desire! (Full guide not yet available)
They say that once every nine years there's a card game where you can gamble your soul and win your heart's desire. That sounds like tremendous fun.
The bit about gambling your soul is bound to be an exaggeration. Surely.
Story: Ambition: Heart's Desire! is about investigating, staging, and playing an underground card game, The Marvellous, in the hope of winning what you want most in the world. The promise of this prize draws players from all over the Neath: a bishop, a madman, a deviless, and even stranger beings. What is your heart's desire? And what are you prepared to do—or willing to risk—to get it? Heart's Desire is part mystery, part high-stakes game of advantages and sabotage, but with a lighter tone than other Ambitions, and offers a glimpse of the inner lives and most fervent wishes of several familiar faces in Fallen London.
Roleplaying: A character who wants something seemingly unattainable—or who only knows they desperately need something, but isn't sure what—might be drawn to The Marvellous. Or perhaps they're driven by curiosity about what other people want so desperately? Persuasive and Watchful characters are particularly suited to this Ambition.
Perhaps the ambition best suited to a kindly character ... you can endeavour to aid others for no reason but it being the morally right thing to do. A hedonist with a heart of gold (like my Bohemian-loving character) will have a good time. —Austellus
We are always striving for things forbidden, and coveting those denied us. —Ovid, Amorum (16 B.C.)
Main article: Ambition: Light Fingers (Guide)
Before you came down here, you heard through a contact here that she had a line on a diamond 'the size of a cow'. She did tend to exaggerate. But even if it's only the size of, say, a pig, or even a kitten, it's worth your time.
Of course, by the time you got out of New Newgate she'd disappeared. No-one seems to know how, or where, or they're not prepared to admit it.
Story: Ambition: Light Fingers! is a horror story disguised as a heist caper. Its sudden (and surprisingly early) twist, and shift to a much darker tone, is why it's the only Ambition offering a free chance to forget the whole thing and pick a different story. Characters who choose to keep going face difficult moral decisions and high emotional stakes—yet with the potential of a small, glimmering hope at the end of it all.
Content warnings: Non-consent, pregnancy-related body horror, stalking
Main article: Ambition: Nemesis (Guide)
Someone you loved is dead. You swore you'd scour the world for the killer. Your search brought you under the world.
You have crossed oceans and spent your whole inheritance to find this man. You even had yourself sent to New Newgate, as the quickest route down here to the Neath. Surely the hardest parts are behind you?
Story: Ambition: Nemesis is a tale of murder and revenge. A loved one is dead and you will not rest until you've repaid their murderer in kind. Travel across London to find out who did it and exact a horrible revenge. It focuses on the Dangerous and Watchful you need to locate and punish the killer. It can be started in Ladybones Road through Ambition: Nemesis 0.
Roleplaying: [in progress]
Revenge is the sweetest morsel to the mouth, that ever was cooked in hell. —Walter Scott, The Heart of Midlothian (1818)
The Rewards of Ambition
Completing an Ambition gives you immense rewards in the form of powerful items, and every four weeks, via The Rewards of Ambition. It also awards you A True Denizen of the Neath to signify that you've finished the reason you descended and that the Neath is now your home.